Real food on a budget. Is it possible?
Eating real food doesn’t have to be expensive. And eating cheap doesn’t have to be unhealthy! I spend between $250 and $300 on groceries for the two of us per month; approximately $60 a week. And we eat WELL. Every meal I make is healthy, delicious, and filling.
I’m here to tell you that you can eat real food on a budget!
Below is a list of what I buy monthly.
Vegetables are a huge part of our diet. They provide a variety of nutrients and you can buy quite a bit for very little money.
Onions – High in fiber and the base flavor of any meal
Carrots – High in Vitamin C and A
Garlic – Anti-fungal and oh so delicious
Potatoes – High in Vitamin C and Potassium, and lends itself well to any recipe
Greens – Anti-inflammatory and detoxifying; the darker the better (obviously change with the seasons)
I also buy seasonal vegetables. For example; bell peppers in the summer; squash in the fall and winter. Buying in-season is the cheapest way to buy vegetables.
Fruit definitely plays second fiddle to the vegetables in our diet. They have their benefits but they can also be very high in sugar.
Apples – Cheap, flavorful, and full of fiber
Bananas – High in potassium and provides great energy
As with my vegetables, I also buy seasonal fruit; strawberries and blueberries in the summer; cranberries in the fall.
3. Healthy Fats
Since we eat very little meat, healthy fats play an important role in our diet. This is where I’m willing to pay a bit more for good quality stuff. Healthy fats are brain food!
Butter – Grass-fed is best; tasty on anything
Coconut Oil – The only oil I cook in; anti-microbial and has a wide range of uses
Eggs – The perfect food; high in iron and great brain food
Peanut Butter – The cheapest of the nut butters; tasty on a banana or by the spoonful!
4. Dry Goods
Dry goods are an important aspect of our diet. They’re cheap, easy to prepare, and quite filling. I make all my beans, bread products, and tomato sauce from scratch that way I can control what goes in them. Plus, it’s actually so much cheaper! And I like the sort of ancient feeling of preparing things the “old way”.
Brown Rice – High in Manganese and fiber
Tinkiyada Brown Rice Noodles – My favorite rice noodles
Flour – Not necessarily “good” for us; I ferment it with sourdough to make it more easily digestible for us; Derek LOVES his bread products
Canned Crushed Tomatoes – To make tomato sauce for pasta and pizza; check the ingredients! Just tomatoes!
Sugar – Regular old sugar to brew Kombucha
Molasses – Super high in Iron (Derek has a history of anemia); a tablespoon in coffee is super tasty!
Coconut Sugar – For the occasional cakes I bake
Salt, Pepper, and Spices – Sea salt (contains very important nutrients!), fresh ground black pepper, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon
We don’t eat out at restaurants much, at most once a week. Mostly when we’re out we’ll pick up a coffee to share from a cafe or a sticky bun from Barry’s Buns.
As I stated before:
You can eat real, healthy food on a budget!
It just takes some work. And I’m willing to do that. I’ve struggled with health issues of an unhealthy diet. I won’t go back.